Where: Vystar Veterans Memorial Stadium, Jacksonville Florida
How can I watch UFC Jacksonville? Stream all the fights with ESPN + or watch on ESPN.
What time does UFC Jacksonville 2 start? The fights begin at 6 PM, ET
Irwin Rivera (+370) vs. Giga Chikadze (-480)
Forida based Titan FC fighter Irwin Rivera will be stepping in on short notice to face Giga Chikadze at UFC Jacksonville. Rivera will be making his UFC debut in place of Mike Davis, who was forced to withdraw.
As is typically the case with these types of fights, the line has opened up heavy in favor of Chikadze. The Georgian born kick-boxer was initially an underdog in the Davis fight but now finds himself as close to a 5-to-1 favorite as the fight nears.
Though Rivera is a total wild card, I still favor Chikadze in this fight. His kick-boxing is world class and if he can get into a rhythm, he’ll be landing heavy kicks with a healthy volume. He effortlessly switches stances and has come inches away from more than one devastating head-kick.
Rivera’s path to victory will be to take the fight to the ground, which always seems to be the analysis for a Chikadze fight. Chikadze has held his own on the ground, however, and against more seasoned wrestlers than Rivera. The 31 year old Chikadze managed to edge out a close decision against Jamall Emmers his last go around, thanks in part to his ground game. Emmers had his moments on the ground but Chikadze was able to flip him over at one point, a move that was likely the fight-winning moment.
It’s a steep price, but I’m going to keep it simple on this one and go with Chikadze double chance – TKO or points (-340). It’s not a great value by any stretch, but I’m going to parlay this with my next selection and one more play. If I really had to guess, I’d say Chikadze by points (+150) has a solid chance of happening. I just envision him getting into a kicking rhythm and if that happens, a devastating head-kick will be looming.
In order to play it safe, I’m sticking with the double chance.
Prediction and play: Giga Chikadze double chance, TKO or points (-340)
Mara Romero Borella (+130) vs. Cortney Casey (-152)
Cortney Casey will be moving up a weight class at UFC Jacksonville in order to take on Mara Romero Borella. Borella is coming off a loss to Montana De La Rosa while Cortney Casey last lost to Cynthia Cavillo. Each fighter will be looking to get back on track in what is essentially a pick em’ fight.
In terms of picking a winner here, it really is a coin toss. Neither fighter has great finishing ability and they are fairly evenly matched in terms of striking. If there is a striking advantage in this fight, the nod has to go to Casey, however. With that said, Borella should have a grappling advantage, especially with Casey coming up a weight class.
I see this one more or less playing out the same way Waterson vs. Esparza played out last weekend. Grappling edge vs. striking edge in a battle between two fighters who lack finishing ability. If Cortney Casey is able to keep the fight standing a majority of the time and land strikes, I think she takes it. Borella has a suspect chin and Casey has the faster hands. If Borella is able to use her size advantage to hold Casey down and keep her on her back, I think she cruises to a decision.
Either way, I think this fight goes the distance and so do the odds makers. If I had to choose, I’d honestly go with Borella in this fight if for no other reason than I always favor the bigger fighter in these types of match-ups. Borella by points at (+195) is available but I’m going to keep it simple and stick with a distance prop. The fight going the distance is valued at (-380) and I’m fairly certain that this will be the case.
It’s another steep price, but I’m going to parlay this with my next pick. I’m actually going to throw in an outside the UFC play and go with Bayern Munich moneyline (-550) for tomorrow’s game against Union Berlin. Chikadze double chance, Casey/Borella to go the distance and Bayern Munich combine for close to an even line at (-109), which is fine by me.
I feel like playing it safe tonight, but Borella/Casey to go the distance and Chikadze double chance are great parlay stuffers.
Prediction and play: Fight goes the distance (-380)
Nate Landwehr (+108) vs. Darren Elkins (-128)
Nate Landwehr will be making his second UFC appearance against seasoned veteran Darren Elkins at UFC Jacksonville. Landwehr last lost via devastating, round 1 KO to Herbert Burns a couple months back. As for Elkins, he has lost three straight, albeit to top tier fighters. He last lost to Ryan Hall, was KO’d by Ricardo Lamas and lost to current divisional champion Alexander Volkanovski by decision. Before that, Elkins was on a solid wining streak from 2015-18. He secured six wins in a row over Robert Whiteford, Chas Skelly, Godofredo Pepey, Mirsad Bektic, Dennis Bermudez and Michael Johnson before losing to Volkanovski.
It is this wide experience gap that makes this match-up a puzzling one for the UFC. Landwehr is a recognizable name, having formerly been champ with M1 Global. He is an aggressive brawler nicknamed “the train” due to his relentless determination and pressure. He’s a fairly well rounded fighter with above average striking, so I could see him beating Elkins.
With that said, Elkins simply has far too much experience headed into this fight. Prospects have been having issues in these match-ups against tested veterans all week and I see the same issues taking place here.
Although Elkins hasn’t had a victory in a while, he’s been fighting towards the top of the division for the better part of 10 years. He’s one of the sports most savage brawlers and edges out Landwehr just about everywhere, especially on the ground. The biggest issue for Elkins at UFC Jacksonville will simply be the damage he’s taken throughout his career. If Elkins is at the end of the line, Landwehr could have a night.
I don’t see it, however, and I like Elkins at this price. There’s simply too much experience between the two to go with Landwehr, so I’ll stick with the veteran for my only straight play of the night.